Monday, October 27, 2008

On the Street Where I Live

This is dedicated to the spray-paint graffiti artist whose work, pictured below, is on Gardner Street in Allston.

I have often walked down my street before;
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.

All at once am I several stories high.
Seeing obscene words on the street where I live:

Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour out of ev'ry door?
No, it's just on the street where I live!

People stop and stare. They don't bother me.
For there's no where else on earth that I would rather be.
Let the time go by, I won't care if I
Can see porn on the street where I live.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Overheard in Allston

So I was working on my laptop in my favorite neighborhood punk-rock coffee/ice cream shop, Herrell's Cafe, when I began eavesdropping on a tragic conversation happening at the table next to me. This guy was detailing some trauma to the chick sitting across from him, and I overheard him say something about an accident wherein he got burned. Intrigued, I began to listen more closely.

Burn-victim guy mentioned something about accidentally inhaling fuel and deciding that day to "quit." Wow, I thought, this guy must have been some sort of heroic firefighter before he got injured. The girl listening to his tale of woe was nodding sympathetically and holding his hand across the table. It was all very emotional and made me feel guilty about my chosen profession, which will never put me in harm's way or involve any life-saving.

Then I hear the guy say, "Yeah, well, fire-eating is definitely the most dangerous thing I've ever done."

Ok, never mind. Dude, you make the choice to stick a flaming baton down your throat, you deal with the consequences.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My new job

Mom and Dad would be so proud.

Ok, so technically, I don't work at Club Fuxxx, but The Comedy Studio, where I am a waitress two nights a week becomes Club Fuxxx at 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Located on the third floor of the illustrious Hong Kong restaurant and bar, Club Fuxxx draws mostly Harvard kids who enthusiastically and poorly dance to hip-hop after drinking a few too many Scorpion Bowls.


The woman on the far right looks like she just got an enema.

I'm thinking about submitting info about my new job to the Yale Alumni Magazine for inclusion in the Class Notes section. The entry might look something like this:

Brooks Madison (JE) just passed the California bar exam and will be joining the prestigious law firm of Miller, Toppleman, and Krauss next month. Best of luck, Brooks! McKenzie Adams (SM) and Douglas Dalton (TD) recently tied the knot at Martha's Vineyard in front of a crowd of 350 which included many Yalies and Ivy League graduates. The ceremony, according to bridesmaid Lindsay Taft (SM), was extremely elegant and tasteful. Katie Vagnino (BR) just got a job as a cocktail waitress at Club Fuxxx in Cambridge, MA. Drs. Suzanna Spitz-Boone (DC) and Pierce Boone (MC '01) recently returned from a three-month Doctors-Without-Borders tour in Kenya and are thrilled to annoucnce that they are expecting their first child in March.

One of these things is not like the other....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


hey (hā) interj. Used to attract attention or to express surprise, appreciation, wonder, or pleasure.

A recent study* revealed that nearly 87% of Americans with text-message capabilities have at some point received the one-word message "hey" from a friend, family member, or more likely, a potential or existing sexual partner. Statistical research indicates that the ubiquitous "hey" text is becoming increasingly popular on college campuses and among the under-35 demographic. But just what does the "hey" text message imply or convey? When you type those three letters on your cellular phone's keypad or touch screen and hit send, are you saying what you think you are saying?

T.J., a sophomore at Boston University, explained his usage of the "hey" text: "I text a girl 'hey' to let her know I'm feelin' her." And if she responds? "I might follow up with something like, 'what r u doing tonite?'" T.J. went on the explain that he finds texting "hey" is a great way to make "first contact" with a girl.

Hunter College freshman Mike agreed--"'Hey' is nice and neutral," he said. "Same goes for 'yo.'"

Females, however, seemed to disagree about the effectiveness of the one-word text. "Oh my God, I hate getting texted 'hey,' it's so irritating," said Amy, a freshman at Tulane. "I accidentally gave out my number to this weirdo in my I[nternational] R[elations] class who said he was starting a study group. Now he texts me 'hey' like twice a week."

Leah, who just started her junior year at Cornell, felt similarly. She described the "hey" text as "immature and vague" and said she'd prefer interested parties to actually call her to ask her out.

Etymologically, "hey" dates back to the early 13th-century, and is derived either from the Roman eho, or the Greek word, eia. The only modern-day language other than English to use a similar expression is German (hei). In American culture, "hey" is regularly used as a replacement for the more formal-sounding greeting, "hello." "Hey" is a self-contained thought, one that invites a response playfully without demanding it. In the medium of text-messaging, it is often interpreted flirtatiously, as a signifier of romantic interest.

At least, that is what Becca, a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence, is hoping. "I met this awesome guy last night at a Take Back the Night organizational meeting and I think he might want to go out," she explained. "If he texts me 'hey' in the next few days, I'll know he means business."

*There was no study conducted and all of the quotations/names included here are completely fictional. Any similarity to actual undergraduates is entirely unintentional.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Poem du jour

I have a somewhat contentious relationship with Robert Frost. For reasons unknown, I have always felt inclined to dislike him and his work. Seriously, doesn't he look like a mean old crusty man?

On a recent trip to his hometown of Bennington, VT, I passed up the opportunity to visit his house, which is now a museum in his honor. I chose instead to visit the Annual Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival. When forced to choose between Frost ephemera and homemade garlic pesto, I went with the pesto.

My favorite possibly apocryphal Frost anecdote (and don't we all have one of those) concerns his issue with reading his work in public. According to J.D. McClatchy, Frost HATED to read his poetry on a bill with other poets. He only liked to read when it was just him. One time, he agreed to do a reading at Harvard (his alma mater) on the condition that he would be the only poet reading. But someone screwed up and Frost finds out on the day of that some other nobody poet is supposed to be reading as well. He freaks out and tries to back out. Finally, he concedes and agrees to read only on the condition that he can read first. Harvard says "Fine, whatever."

So Frost gets on stage and reads about apple picking, fire and ice, and snowy woods and whatnot. Everyone claps and Frost returns to his seat in the front row. The next poet gets on stage to read and before he's even finished with his first poem, the smoke alarm goes off and the whole auditorium has to be evacuated. Why? BECAUSE FROST LIT HIS PROGRAM ON FIRE.

Which is kind of a gangsta move. I can't validate this story anywhere, so don't even bother trying. Google search for "Robert Frost asshole" turns up zilch.

But recently, I actually read some Frost poetry and I gotta say, the man knows what he's doing with language. My favorite poem at the moment is "For Once, Then, Something":

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths--and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

I mean, DAMN. I hope someday in my writing to find "something more of the depths."

Not on this blog, though. My next post will be an academic deconstruction of the text message "Hey."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Under the influence

Since moving to Boston and starting graduate school has correlated with drinking copious amounts of beer (it's all anybody drinks in this town, seriously), I more than ever wish I could master the art of drunk writing. Not drunk texting or e-mailing; people who know me are well aware of my demonstrated mastery in those fields. In college, I actually had to put Post-Its all over my laptop before going out to remind myself not to send e-mails when I came home drunk. I've matured a little bit since those days.

I'm always envious when I talk to people who say they do some of their best work when drunk and/or high. Coleridge and Poe had their opium; Bukowski, whiskey; Aaron Sorkin, cocaine. A med student once told me that if Sorkin were her patient, she'd feel torn between her responsibility as a doctor to tell him about the myriad medical risks of cocaine abuse and her impulse as a West Wing fan to tell him to stick with the blow.

The truth is, my writing is terrible when I'm not sober. The other night, after some enjoying a few beers with some fellow students at the Tam, I came home tipsy and decided to write a poem. The best thing about this poem is the title: "Wherein I contemplate the possibilty [
sic] that I have a drinking problem." The poem itself is completely incoherent, though I did devote an entire stanza to the glories of brunch cocktails. (I have yet to find a solid Bloody Mary in Beantown.)

I often come home from a night of drinking with the best intentions to write and be productive, but I inevitably end up sprawled on my bed watching, for the 1,000,000th time, that episode of Law and Order:SVU where Det. Stabler goes undercover as a pedophile ex-con.

Mmmm, yes.

I have only tried to write stoned once, in college. The poem was about spiders. Correction: "arachnids." I remember thinking that was an amazing word when I was writing the poem.

I keep thinking I might be able to tap into a secret reservoir of creativity if I could just compose sentences while not fully in control of my faculties. I certainly become an amazing dancer when I'm drunk. Check out my hot moves:

Fierce, no?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Democracy's downsides

Many thanks to Tim Cooper, for finding this and sending it to me:

This sign is in the front yard of a house in Barefoot Bay, FL. (Yes, that's actually the name of the town; only Backwards Swamp, FL would be more apt). The owner of the house and creator of the sign, Andy Lacasse, is apparently a registered Democrat, but hates Obama. Or at least thinks Obama wears impure fabrics.

Look, I totally think voting is an important civil right, but sometimes, when I hear about the Andy Lacasses of the world, I long for an oligarchy.

This, by the way, is Andy:

To read about the entire sign controversy, click here.

Also, I know I've been a little delinquent about posting regularly....a little birdy called Grad School has been pecking the shit out of me lately, but rest assured, I will get back to a better schedule.

Right after I finish making my handmade sign that will say
"McCain = Half-Wit Poly-Cotton Blend."